Promoting a Standard of Inclusion in State Social Studies

Utah State University Professor Steven Camicia and Juanjuan Zhu, with Denver Public Schools, have been awarded the 2020 Francis P. Hunkins Distinguished Article Award by the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum.

Camicia is a Social Studies Education professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership, part of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Camicia and Zhu's article adds important perspective to the emerging research surrounding LGBTQ exclusion in state social studies standards.

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In their article, Camicia and Zhu found that the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender are used very infrequently, if at all, in state social studies standards across the nation. These findings indicate widespread exclusion of LGBTQ individuals, issues, and social movements in social studies teaching standards, which has significant implications for students who identify with LGBTQ or other minoritized groups.

“State social studies standards communicate an official stance on subjects such as civics, history, economics and geography,” said Camicia. “When individuals and groups are excluded from these subject areas, it sends a powerful message that some people and their perspectives are valued more than others. Inclusive standards support curriculum and instruction that benefit students’ physical, mental and academic health.”

Camicia and Zhu assert that part of the mission of public schools is to help students attain the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to build democratic communities, and standards that are inclusive of all individuals and groups uphold these core values. Ultimately, they advocate for principles of democracy as a standard in all classrooms, with all students represented and given equal voice.

The Francis P. Hunkins Award recognizes excellence in scholarship by honoring articles that contribute to the field of curriculum or teaching, promote dialogue between researchers and professionals and have implications for improving educational practice.

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